Monday, April 30, 2012

Yellow margaritas

Yellow margaritas, oil on card, 10.5 / 9 cm

Difficult days: rotting quietly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A quiet street III

A quiet street 3, oil on card, 12 / 14 cm

I looks as if it is snowing here, which it isn't. It's just the strange way the light reflected on the tarmac.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wan, Praia Moçambique


Wan, Praia Moçambique, oil on card, 17 / 16 cm  SOLD

One of my favourite places here, less visited, and very tranquil.

Again, like yesterday a bigger scale. I must get more cards tomorrow to prepare.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The night Patrizia met the Pixies.

Patrizia could not sleep. She lay on her bed. She closed her eyes.

 She could hear the trees sighing in the breeze. She lay on her back. She could hear the gentle wind move the leaves making a soft sound. She lay on her stomach.  She could hear the house move, a soft creaking. Sshe turned on her side. Then she turned on her back again.

She really could not sleep. Oh how difficult, how absurdly difficult! And the more she tried the harder it became. She thought of the days work ahead. She thought of interesting things and she thought of dull things.She thought about the number of Fiats in Bari, and began counting how many might park all the way down  Via Giuseppe Mazzini if one allowed 60 centimetres at the in front of each car. She thought about how many stitches were in her mothers pyjamas. She wondered why insects have six legs when all the other creatures seem happy with four, and what people drank in the mornings before coffee was invented.

Then she heard the sound of voices, from under her window. She thought, how silly. I must be going crazy from lack of sleep.

She hear a tapping coming from the window. It is only a little bird, thought Patrizia.  

The she heard, a faint melody, of the sound of a piccolo, perhaps; then  more clearly:

"Patrizia! Patrizia! Open the window!"

...and could no more resist She went over to the window, where she saw three little Pixie faces.


Years later, in lugubrious moments in her office, Patrizia's mind would often drift to that enchanted night. 

How the three Pixies lowered had Patrizia to the to the ground, placing her delicately on her huge feet: then  a gentle small hand took her left, and then her right hand, and two green clad men led Patrizia skipping into the night, through the long grass and over a fence: they laughed as they nearly tripped past laurels and elms.

 They were joined by more and more Pixies, all dressed in green, one with a tambourine, another with a ukulele; a third and fourth carried a huge basket of food, a fifth hauled a cart which held a gigantic flagon of wine. One rode a goat, another a huge mouse.

They made their way down to down to a clearing by the river, where she heard nightingales and laughter and the crackling of a fire and saw yet more Pixies, who cried "come close, the fire is warm" and fed her marshmallows and made her smile with the way they quarreled over the flagon. The Pixies sang lewd songs about the mating rituals of hedgehogs and rabbits, which made her laugh and blush until the morning.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I'm playing more with the idea of making fragments deliberately, chasing Rodin,(and the whole of modern sculpture I guess). And chasing the idea of work which is non-monumental, intimate small work, whose strength lies in ambiguity, almostness and allusion. I'm making animals but trying to avoid the sweetness that this often seems to necessitate.

At what point does a work of art become so slight, so quiet that it ceases to be a work of art, and remains a dormant affecting no-one? Is there a minimal level of physical intervention?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birdshead revisited

Returning to an earlier set of pieces: the birds.

 I had worked on them and they had become more and more like very obvious toys. I like toys, but the toys I like have a sense of abstraction about them, which is what lends them their charm (contrast Britains' very realistic animals and soldiers and cars with the far more abstracted tin soldiers and cars of earlier epochs).

I'd forced the pieces, making them far too explicitely "fun" and decorative when I should have let them be, allowing the viewer more space to draw their own interpretations.

Thus, in the guise of Redon, I return.

I also began making some horses: again I haven't found quite the equilibrum between a sort of Giacometti abstraction and realism, and they became too cute: I shall persevere.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

They eat: our shared humanity.

Tenderness. Sharing food is important for Brazillians.
 I thought he might come over and assaut me at this point.

But in fact he was merely enjoying a Proustian moment.

And, fortunately for me, the needs of the stomach took precedence over honour.

My favourite: the chip resembling a moustache.

 Satiation. But is he happy?

A series of photos celebrating our shared humanity; part of an open-ended photo exploraration of Brazilians in their glorious diversity.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Laurels; Station to Station;Whistler; Chile


Laurels, oil on card, 10.5 / 12cm

I recall reading, though I am damned if I can find the interview now, about David Bowie writing on the matter of the production of Station to Station (unquestionably his greatest record*) and in which he stated that he had a regret, which was that he used an echo in the production, that the sound should have been harder.

I may misremember the quote, but it  serves to illustrate the element of courage required to follow a  a creative idea to its conclusions- not to doubt, not to worry about "taste" or "appeal".

All that is by way of nothing much: I have purchased passages to Rome and Chile: the only form of resistance I know to torpor and the miserable, mediocre state of mind I am in is travel and art. That necessary combination of inoocence and creativity, and the why the hell not attitude, so necessary, summarised wittily by Hillary "because it's there".

 I have no deep interest really in Chile, though Whistler came from Valparaiso so, perhaps I can make some sort of homage to the butterfly there.

This is from Robert Hughes's book, "American Visions":

 "Whistler was the son of a railway engineer, born in Lowell, Massachusetts, but throughout his life he pretended to be a Southern gentleman. He was, in most imaginable ways, self invented.

"...he was irked by the low status America accorded to its artists. His solution was not to attach himself to a court, as West did, but to depart for Paris and London and pretend to be a native aristocrat from an America he would never revisit. Perhaps his fixation with rank was impressed early: he was partly raised in Russia where his father was designing the St Petersburg-Moscow railway for Czar Nicholas I. It may have been reinforced at the millitary academy at West Point, from which he flunked out in 1854 for his cluelessness about chemistry. "Had silicon been a gas," he would say later, "I would have been a major general". He left for Paris the next year aged txwenty-one. Thus, although he liked to pose as a dashing Tidewater cavalier, Whistler never became an officer, still less saw action in the Civil War. This issuficiency troubled him, and it accounts for a peculiar adventure he undertook in 1866, when he sailed from France to Chile- a long and gruelling trip across the Atlantic and around Cape Horn - to be present at a Spanish naval blocade of the port of Valparaiso. Whether Whistler thought his being there would make an ounce of difference in the outcome of Chile's small colonial rebellion, on cannot tell; in the event, the Spanish warchips bombarded Valparaiso and reduced most of its waterfront to rubble, while Whistler, along with most of the Chilean officials, fled for the hills. By the end of 1866, he was back in Paris with a few misty, blue, crepescular seascapes of Valparaiso to show for his trip, but no honourable scars"

Whistler's Chilean pictures do seem particularly limpid, even judging by his own standards.

 *quite why and how I can like, nay, love a record so explicitely Fascist in its implications is something I cannot easily answer. Perhaps the record merely flatters my instincive will to power; it's such a cocaine fuelled fantasy it just draws me along, helplessly. The music seems to empower me, but. Lord knows, I have no deep seated desire to see or be a new Mussolini. It is perhaps, also in part, a question of opposites, that the record lends cool tempered relief from the insistant fluffiness of much pop: there is no lovey dovey stuff here, no I wanna hold your hand crap, no bollocks about lets get together and feel all right, It's very pure, very hard music, shamelessly strange, utterly egocentric.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Road-building: tarmac; Chile

Tarmac, oil on card, 12 / 14cm

Part of the series tracing a new suburban development in Lagoa.


I fly to Chile at the end of May: Santiago and Valparaiso. It is considerably cheaper to fly to Chile than to the North-East of Brasil, about half the price. I don't understand the air fares in Brasil at all: I suspect some sort of cartel.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A doleful afternoon

A doleful afternoon, oil on card, 12 / 15 cm

The view from my bedroom: previously visited in

This view is larger.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I had a delightful idea, to lift me from the torpor which is Brasil- go to Rome!

I often think of places to go, but none has lent me that instantaneous sense of delight that I need to get organised.

Perhaps I can fly there, visit some other cities too, Naples again, and the Amalfi coast, even cross to the Adriatic side and see Lecce.

I was in Rome less than a year ago, but not for long enough, and felt my work there was not as good as it should have been. But I also I felt that delerium that one feels on encountering a beautiful person too briefly.

But when I say in the car today, a devil visited me, and whispered to my torpor, telling me how the second meetings are too laden with expectations and invariably issue disappointment.

Oh go back to hell where you belong!